Blood Red Shoes, whose new self-titled record has received a veritable cauldron of critical praise, were the chosen ones to open the Live At Leeds extravaganza. They literally got the festival of with a bang. Supported by DZ Deathrays and Slaves, the whole evening saw a total of six instruments on stage. Three guitars and three sets of drums, of sorts. Now you could not be blamed for thinking that three duo’s with the same set up would make a rather pointless and dull evening of similarities. Well, if you are thinking that stop right now. Because that particular thought could not be further from the truth.
DZ opened. All sprawling guitar and brooding percussion. Urgent, and at times experimental it set the tone for the rest of the show. Slaves, two cheeky chappies from Kent who have just signed a deal with Virgin, were, in comparison at any rate, lighter. The guitar taking a little bit of a back-seat to the thrilling drum beat that framed lyrical content of sharply observed humour. Think of The Streets but with a lot louder passion and beat. And if you ever do see them I suggest you think of your favourite biscuit, because they will ask you and build a song around it.
On to the main event. Again, Blood Red Shoes simply have a guitar and drums. It looks a simple set up but it is intricate and complex and compelling. Steven Ansell constructs a melody with his kit which Laura-Mary Carter on guitar follows. However, sometimes it is the other way round. The sound though is always compelling. There are lyrics of course, but in essence they don’t really matter. The music takes you to where you want to be. And that’s jumping around. It’s sweaty and meaty. They are perfect words for the sound Blood Red Shoes makes. They have a full Cockpit in the palm of their hands by the end. More is wanted, and when, after an elongated encore, the silence is literally deafening: The beat is still, unforgettably banging your head from side to side as though you are a punch drunk boxer who is waiting for the next punch: It’s exhilarating and exciting and it is the perfect start to the weekend.